Drinking coconut water is no longer just that occasional and enjoyable vacation experience, this natural and exotic drink is finally available on many of our grocery store shelves. Coconut water may be beneficial to an active lifestyle; providing more potassium than a banana, coconut water may help prevent dehydration and rehydrate the body better after exercise.In this article we look at whether coconut water really is all that it is cracked up to be and what evidence there is for some of its possible health benefits. We also take a look at what makes the best coconut water brand the best to help you to take the guesswork out of selecting coconut water.
The not from concentrate and non-GMO Taste Nirvana premium coconut water is our best pick for being canned within hours of harvesting.
The Vita Coco organic coconut water is our not from concentrate budget pick which as well as being naturally gluten free is also kosher.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Coconut Water Brands
- 1. Taste Nirvana Premium Coconut Water
- 2. Vita Coco Organic Coconut Water
- 3. C2O Pure Coconut Water
- 4. Amy & Brian Coconut Water Original
- 5. Zico Natural 100% Coconut Water
- 6. Naked Juice 100% Organic Pure Coconut Water
- 7. O.N.E. Pure Coconut Water
- 8. Harvest Bay – All Natural No Added Sugar Coconut Water
- Things to Consider Before Buying Coconut Water
Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Coconut Water Brands
1. Taste Nirvana Premium Coconut Water
Harvested from young Nam Hom coconuts in Thailand, the 12 pack of Taste Nirvana premium coconut water (16.2 fl. oz cans) is a not from concentrate water canned within hours of its harvesting. This coconut water is naturally gluten free and vegan. It is also free from preservatives and is Non-GMO Project Verified.This coconut water now contains coconut essence and less than 1% fruit sugar. Although there is some uncertainty as to whether this is just from a particular batch, there can be a small risk of receiving a pack of cans which are beginning to turn rancid.
2. Vita Coco Organic Coconut Water
With each container containing only 60 calories, the 12 pack of Vita Coco organic coconut water (11.1 fl. oz containers) is also Non-GMO Project Verified, vegan, kosher and gluten free. Not from concentrate, this water is processed within 72 hours of picking the coconuts.Made with coconuts sourced from different countries, this water does contains added organic sugar and vitamin C and like any coconut water, there can be issues with mold developing or the water turning rancid. There can also be problems with the caps not being properly attached to the containers – making it difficult to open, pour or even reseal them.
3. C2O Pure Coconut Water
Free from any added sugar and not from concentrate, the 12 pack of C2O pure coconut water (17.5 fl. oz cans) is also Non-GMO Project Verified and does not contain any artificial ingredients. Made from a fresh water variety rather than coastal variety coconuts, this gives a slightly different taste. There is a significant risk of these cans arriving dented as they appear to be more fragile than other cans.
4. Amy & Brian Coconut Water Original
Made with pure young coconut water from Thai coconuts, the 24 pack of Amy & Brian all natural coconut juice (10 fl. oz cans) is not from concentrate and is Non-GMO Project Verified. It is also free from any added ingredients. Some drinkers have found that this does have a slightly different flavor and may lack some of the nutty taste of other coconut waters and some people have commented that this appears to have a higher carb content than other pure coconut waters.
5. Zico Natural 100% Coconut Water
Not from concentrate, the 12 pack of Zico natural 100% coconut water (16.9 fl. oz bottles) is also free from added sugar. This is also non-GMO and the plastic bottles are free from BPA. Some drinkers have commented that this water does lack a natural sweetness and that it is best drunk when cold.
6. Naked Juice 100% Organic Pure Coconut Water
The USDA Organic Certified 12 pack of Naked pure coconut water (16.9 fl. oz containers) is a not from concentrate and is free from added sugar or preservatives. This is also kosher and Non-GMO Project Verified. Some consider that this water does have an oily taste and may taste too ‘coconutty’, especially as it has natural flavor added. This natural flavor also means this is not a completely ‘pure’ coconut water.
7. O.N.E. Pure Coconut Water
Free from any added sugar, the 12 pack of O.N.E pure coconut water (16.9 fl. oz containers) is not made from concentrate and is drained and packaged at source. This coconut water does contain natural flavor and it has changed recipe - not all buyers are as happy with its new flavor. Other buyers have also found that this water is best used in smoothies or other drinks rather than drinking just as a water on its own.
8. Harvest Bay – All Natural No Added Sugar Coconut Water
Produced in Thailand, the 12 pack of Harvest Bay all-natural coconut water (8.45 fl. oz containers) contains only coconut water not from concentrate. This is also Non-GMO Project Verified. The nutritional information can vary across batches, so the advertised nutrition may be different to that of the water you receive. A number of drinkers do prefer to blend this rather than drink it on its own.
Things to Consider Before Buying Coconut Water
Coconut water has been a staple of tropical diets for centuries and has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine and other traditional medicines. Coconut water in the US is usually flash or UHT pasteurized or processed using high pressure processing (HPP) as there are very few raw (unpasteurized) sources available. Coconut water which is raw or unpasteurized must be kept refrigerated and its shelf life is limited.
Coconut water will usually have a nutty and sweet taste. It can be drunk as it is, used in smoothies, popsicles, cocktails, sauces, puddings, curries, cakes, salad dressings and so much more.
The Difference Between Coconut Water and Coconut Milk
Coconut water is the clear liquid from the coconut, while coconut milk is fresh coconut meat mixed with coconut water. Coconut water is extracted from young green coconuts, when at around nine months old they are just filled with water. As the coconut ages, the water transforms into the white coconut flesh which is then grated or pressed to make the creamed coconut, milk or oil.
Coconut Water Nutrition
An unflavored and no added sugar coconut water is low calorie, containing between 45 and 60 calories per 8 fl. oz serving. It is also lower sugar and its 9 grams of carbs are easily digestible. This makes pure coconut water healthier than many sports drinks, sodas and even some fruit juices.
An 8 fl. oz serving of coconut water will also contain around 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and 10% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Coconut water is also a source of several amino acids – some of which are in greater quantity than in cow’s milk and it is an especially rich source of arginine, the amino acid that helps the body respond to physical stress.
Coconut water also contains natural electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and magnesium, although the levels of these vary as a coconut matures.
Coconut waters which are flavored or contain added sugars should be treated more carefully than pure coconut water as their sugar, fat and even sodium content can be dramatically increased. Sticking to a pure coconut water is usually always the healthiest way to enjoy coconut water.
Coconut Water for Active Lifestyles
Adequate potassium intake is vital for electrolyte and fluid balance in our bodies, especially during exercise. Having enough potassium in the body can also help prevent against cramps. Although potassium is in foods such as bananas, melon, grapefruit, oranges and spinach, an unbalanced diet can mean a lower intake of this important mineral.
Because of its higher potassium levels – around ten times as much as some sports drinks - coconut water can help the body to stay hydrated during exercise and may possibly hydrate the body better than water and equal to sports drinks after exercise. Another study found that coconut water could cause more stomach upset and bloating though.
Although coconut water only contains a smaller amount of magnesium, the magnesium is needed in the body to help shift potassium and calcium into muscle tissue to help with muscle contraction and relaxation. Magnesium also plays a vital role in organ function and energy production.
Possible Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Some early research in animals has found that the antioxidants in coconut water can modify free radicals, or reduce levels of oxidative stress in the body. Free radical damage is linked to many disorders including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
In one animal study, diabetic animals were able to maintain better blood sugar levels when they were given coconut water when compared to those animals (the control group) not fed coconut water. There have been some other small studies in the laboratory which have shown promising results for helping improve blood sugar levels and other markers in animals with diabetes. As of yet, none of these have been carried out in humans.
Giving coconut water to people who had high blood pressure was able to improve systolic blood pressure in 71% of the study group. The potassium in coconut water is probably the main contributor to this as potassium can lower blood pressure in those who have normal or higher blood pressure. This also means if you actually have low blood pressure you should take care drinking coconut water as it can lower your blood pressure even more – you are best checking with your healthcare provider first.
Animals who were given higher quantities of coconut water also had lower levels of blood cholesterol, triglycerides and liver fat – the reductions were similar to the effects of a statin drug.
Safety of Coconut Water
Coconut water is listed as being likely safe for most adults when consumed as a drink. It can cause bloating or stomach upset in a small number of people. Drinking high quantities of coconut water could cause blood potassium levels to become too high which may lead to an irregular heartbeat and/or kidney problems.
Those with high blood potassium levels should avoid coconut water, as should those with cystic fibrosis. If you have kidney problems you should check whether it is safe for you to drink coconut water and if you are due to undergo surgery, you may need to stop drinking coconut water at least two weeks before the procedure as it could affect blood pressure control during or after the surgery.
Early research into the benefits of coconut water is promising. Although most of the research has taken place in the laboratory, findings have shown its potential in diabetes and heart health. It may also be useful for hydration during exercise. Currently there are no limits set on how much coconut water we should drink in a day, but it is worth remembering that it is not calorie free and it does contain sugars, fat and sodium – especially if it is not a 100% pure coconut water.Enjoyed as part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle, coconut water may just support our well-being and it may just be all that it is cracked up to be. We trust that you have enjoyed our best coconut water brand review and that you feel confident in selecting the right coconut water for your tastes – whether to enjoy after your early morning run or in a tasty coconut and berry smoothie.